Wake up, News Media
I am really curious, and really pessimistic, about how the network news shows and principal print press are going to handle President VonClownstick and his enablers going forward.
Three years into this nightmare administration and Chuck Todd is still asking milquetoast questions on Meet the Press and Margaret Brennan is still letting Republican Senators and administration officials walk all over her on Face the Nation. (How Stephanopolous is doing on his show I don't know, but based on his performance in last week's debate I have to think he's asking dumb questions too.) Now that POTUS has gone full-on dictator with his consigliere henchman Bill Barr, taking revenge on those who dared testify under Congressional subpoena and using the Justice Department (which really will need a new name) as an arm of the Trump Crime Family, will reporters change their ways? Will they start confronting enablers of autocracy on their overt and covert abetting of an insane clown tyrant?
I have my doubts. The outrages we've already lived through seem like plenty to light a fire under the press and, with some very notable exceptions*, they still cower. The President of the United States has called our free press "the enemy of the people" and decried all truthful reporting as "fake news," he is (and has been for years now) employing Russian-style propaganda tactics, spewing misinformation at a truly astonishing rate, and has somehow conned or coerced the entire Republican Party (what remains of it) into helping him bring down the country; even during impeachment reporters basically gave these people a pass.
I've noticed a small change since the impeachment show-trial; Brennan was tougher than usual when interviewing Sen. Lindsay Graham (R, Ninth Circle) last Sunday, though not nearly enough. Todd was better with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R, Bizarro-world) a week prior and got him to admit he thought Trump was guilty but would let him off anyway, but failed to sufficiently press the point to confront Alexander with the hypocrisy of his vote. Baby steps, I guess.
But baby steps are too little too late, this is crisis time. The Republican party writ large is trying to discredit the press in its entirety. STOP LETTING THEM.
* The MSNBC prime time trio of Chris Hayes, Rachel Maddow, and Lawrence O'Donnell are doing very well, but they are considered, rightly or wrongly, as biased because of the Republican narrative that MSNBC is "liberal." Anderson Cooper has likewise stepped it up of late. Washington Post columnists like Gene Robinson and Atlantic Magazine writers like David Frum (a conservative!) are solid, but these are analysts rather than straight reporters. The news needs to be frank, direct, call out lies and propaganda, and treat this political era with the gravity it requires.